It’s always fun to repurpose a piece of clothing and, at the same time, do something that personalizes it for someone special. Earlier this month, I had the pleasure of watching our granddaughters, Belen and Eloise. When I was asked what “project” we were going to work on that day, I suggested that we decorate some jean jackets. They loved the idea and we went to a second-hand store and the girls each found a jacket that fit them.
B’s jacket was originally trimmed with some lace appliqués and a lace trim, which were pretty worn. She asked if she could help me remove these trim pieces before we washed the jackets.
I showed her how to use a seam ripper to remove the lace trims and she was eager to help – she did a great job and in no time at all, her jean jacket was clear of trims and ready for the washer.
The girls thought about what and how they wanted to embellish their new jackets. They chose various fabrics to use to in an appliqué for the back of each jacket.
Eloise wanted to assist too, so she helped me pre-shrink and hang fabric to dry.
After the jackets had been laundered, we were ready to begin stitching.
Eloise also tried on her fairy Halloween costume for a fitting.
Eloise found a fabric with animals from the Quilt Crossing that she fell in love with. We decided to appliqué it to the back of her jacket. I backed the fabric with a piece of batting and quilted around the design and stipple stitched the background, to help bring out the animals in the design.
Meanwhile, Belen was busy drawing a design for the back of her jacket. She decided to draw a koala bear. While I was stitching Eloise’s jacket, the girls took a play break and had some fun on the swings and played with Toby.
We finished Eloise’s jacket that afternoon and she was thrilled to model it. We decided to add a small elephant on the front of her jacket, for a little added interest.
Belen and I discussed how she wanted her koala appliquéd onto her jacket. I found the perfect piece of fabric in my stash for the inner ears of her koala. For the body and tree, I used various shades of gray grunge fabric and a piece of black grunge for the koala’s nose.
I enlarged her drawing about 20% and traced each of the appliqué pieces by placing her drawing, wrong-side-up, onto a light box. I left ample room around each piece so that they could be easily cut apart and then fused to the back of the relevant appliqué fabric.
The light box made it easy to “fussy-cut” the ear pieces so that I could take advantage of the fabric’s design. I rotated each ear piece to take advantage of the spherical design on the fabric.
It was fun to see her bear come to life as each piece was trimmed. I shared a photo of the project with Belen and she was excited.
Next, I fused the koala bear and tree appliqué pieces to the back of Belen’s jacket.I began with the tree in the background and carefully placed the koala paws in the appropriate place, so that it looked like the bear was holding onto the tree trunk. I also fused the little paws from the right side of the trunk that B had drawn.
Next, I free-motion stitched the perimeter of the bear with a gray thread and stitched so that the bear looked like he had a furry fringe around it. Once that was complete, I outlined the bear again with black thread, to highlight the features of the bear’s face, arms and legs, etc. The final stitching was the bear eyes and a sweet little smile and the bear was done! Next, I stitched the tree with a gray and brown variegated thread.
The highlight, of course, was to show Belen her finished jacket. She was thrilled and said, “Oh Nana, I’m so proud of myself!” She said she didn’t think her drawing would look as good as it did in an appliqué.
Here the girls are modeling their jackets. This was a very fun project that you too could do. It was especially fun to have the girls so involved in the process. Best of all, they loved the finished project and it sure was a lot of fun to spend time with them.
What have you been busy sewing? I would love to hear about your projects!
Now it is time for us to get focused back on Halloween. I’ll share some ideas and what costumes we’re creating in a future blog.